FARMINGTON - On a beautiful residential street in Farmington sits a four-bedroom home for rent that, for at least two would-be renters, was too good to be true.
“It was like honestly a shock to me. I couldn't believe that it was all a scam,” said Claudia.
Claudia found the house for her mother on a Craigslist ad. And you may have heard of this scam before. The person who placed the ad wasn't really the homeowner.
But this one goes deeper.
According to the Dakota County Sheriff's Office, the home on Chili Avenue was legitimately listed on a website called Rently. And the scam artist pointed Claudia to that listing, then encouraged her and her mom to take a tour.
According to the Dakota County Sheriff's Office, out of town property owners use this app Rently to use potential renters into the house using the lock box. So Claudia and her mom were actually inside taking a self-guided tour.
When they finished, they told the scam artist they wanted it. They signed a phony lease and wired him three month's rent and a damage deposit. And he told them where to find the keys, right under the mat.
“And there was actually a Rently envelope with the keys inside,” Claudia said.
Then days later, while Claudia's mom was moving in, another man showed up thinking he just rented the house, holding an identical lease.
“It was pretty much just a copy and paste of the lease we have,” Claudia said.
That's when they both figured out they've been scammed.
“It's just crazy. I didn't want to believe it when my mom called me,” Claudia said.
With all the calls and texts and wire transfers, Claudia is hoping police can track the man down.
“Just be careful,” she said.
A representative from Rently said when you sign up for their app, they warn you not to wire money and to only call the phone number they provide.